A suspected phone thief rained punches on a plain-clothed police officer whom he tried to rob of his Tecno Y5 mobile phone in Lagos.
Idowu Nojeem, 32, beat the officer attached to the state’s Rapid Response Squad “black and blue” after the police Sergeant attempted to arrest him, the police said in a statement Thursday.
The operative, Sergeant Oladipo Adetumbi, who was on a surveillance mission around Ikeja Under Bridge, made a frantic effort to arrest the suspect despite receiving several punches on his face, according to the statement.
“I was with the policeman when the suspect forcefully removed the phone from the operative’s front pocket,” the police quoted an eye witness as saying.
“The policeman was on a surveillance mission in the area but was not in uniform. I saw a man moving towards the sergeant but he never knew he was a policeman because the man was not in uniform.
“As he moved closer to him, he stylishly covered his face with a newspaper, and removed the phone from his pocket. As I stood beside him when the incident occurred, we were all shocked that someone could have such an effrontery to rob while many passers-by were moving.”
The eye witness said immediately the police officer suspected that his phone had been removed, he pulled the suspect by his shirt but the suspect said “he should forget his phone that it’s gone.”
“He started beating the policeman before we could separate them,” the witness said.
“The police officer really showed doggedness never to allow the suspect escape because as the fight was ongoing, he still held him tight with his trousers.
“When it was obvious that he was gaining an upper hand, the traffic warden and other policemen close by stepped in to separate them. Then, the operative now dragged him to other RRS operatives stationed at the Under Bridge, Ikeja.”
While the suspect was held at Ikeja Under Bridge, a lady walked up to the police and accused him stealing her phone few hours earlier.
According to Nneka Adoh, whose phones were allegedly stolen by the same man, she was trying to board a bus to Ogba when she noticed the suspect and two other men walking behind her.
“The suspect was intermittently drawing my bag from behind but I held my bag tight with me, said Ms. Adoh, an accountant.
“But I didn’t know he has used a razor blade to cut the bag and took all my two phones (Tecno F5 and P5).
“Immediately I turned and checked my bag, my phones were gone. One of the passers–by, who saw the suspect when he was removing my phones, pointed at him for stealing my phone.
“Truly, I saw the two phones with him from afar but I was too afraid to confront him. I was still standing there hoping for help to come.
“Fortunately for me, I saw a crowd at under bridge looking at somebody. When I moved closer to know what was going on, I saw the same man (suspect) being handcuffed by the police for stealing an RRS operative’s phone.”
While confirming the arrest of the suspect, the state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Dolapo Badmus, said the police would not condone any act of criminal activity, promising that efforts are on to arrest other members of the syndicate.
The police said the suspect had been charged to court.